PERS Update - For Informational Purposes Only

  • This information is being provided to assist employees in researching, reviewing, and evaluating how proposed PERS reform and/or changes may impact their retirement benefits. 
  • Employees are responsible for researching, verifying, and evaluating how these changes and reform measures may impact them and their retirement benefits.
  • SOU is NOT providing a legal interpretation of the PERS reform and/or changes and cannot evaluate how these changes may impact an individual employee’s retirement benefits.

Recent reports about proposed reform to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) has generated considerable discussion and many questions.  Human Resources Services provides the following information to assist SOU employees with educating themselves and understanding action that can be taken now.

Get Informed

You are encouraged to research and monitor PERS legislation to determine how these changes may impact you. Regardless of legislative action, a licensed financial advisor can assist and advise you with your specific retirement goals and needs. Free sessions with a Financial Advisor are available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Senate Bill 1049

Overview

This bill was passed and signed into law in order to reform PERS. This bill contains five major components that combined are expected to reduce system-wide employer contribution rates by 5.43% and reduce employer contributions by 1.2 to 1.8 billion a biennium beginning with the 2021-23 biennium.  

Update as of August 9, 2019

On August 9, 2019, a petition was filed with the Oregon Supreme Court on behalf of nine public employees who are union members challenging the constitutionality of SB 1049. Specifically, the petition alleges that IAP cuts and purposed salary cap are an impairment of contract and a breach of public employees contract rights. Updates will be published as more information becomes available. Read the petition document here

Summary of Changes - Benefit Modifications

Individual Account Program (IAP) Redirect - EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2020

Redirects a portion of the 6% monthly contribution to a newly established Employee Pension Stability Account (EPSA) when monthly salary is above $2500:
  • For Tier One/Two members, 3.5% to IAP and 2.5% to EPSA
  • OPSRP members, 5.25% to IAP and .75% to EPSA

Redirected funds to the EPSA will be applied to partially fund the member's pension benefit at retirement. This change remains in effect until PERS is 90% funded at which time the total 6% contribution would go back to the IAP account. This change only applies to contributions made after July 1, 2020. 

Change in Final Average Salary Limit - EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2020

Caps annual salary at $195,000 for all purposes, including final average salary and employer contributions.

  • For Tier One/Two, limit will impact pension benefits determined under the Full Formula or Formula Plus Annuity calculation methods; will not impact Money Match calculation method
  • For OPSRP, limit will impact pension calculation 

Change in Work After Retirement Limits - EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2020

If you retire on or after the normal retirement age for your retirement tier, there are no limitations on the number of hours you can work in a post-retirement appointment. Hour limitations still apply if you choose to retire early. Currently, Tier One/Two members who are under their full Social Security age haven an hour limit of 1039/calendar year, and OPSRP members at any point in retirement have an hour limit of 600/calendar year. 

Employers who choose to employ a PERS retiree will still be required to make retirement contributions, which will not impact the retiree's PERS benefits. Rather, contributions on retirees will be used to cover the Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL). This remains in effect calendar years 2020 until at least 2024.

Change in IAP Target-Date Funds - EFFECTIVE FALL 2020 (IN ADVANCE OF JANUARY 2021 MEMBER CHOICE)

By Fall 2020, PERS will inform members of an "optional investment choice window," in which the member can choose a Target-Date Fund for IAP investments, different from the default fund based on the members birth year. IAP funds are currently invested in Target-Date Funds based on the member's birth year. Beginning in 2021, members may choose a fund that is more reflective of the member's risk tolerance, as opposed to the default based on age. 

Summary of Benefit Changes - System Financing Modifications

Tier One/Two Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL) Amortization - EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE OF BILL

  • Reamortization of UAL payment to 22 years as opposed to 16 years
  • One time change to lower payments to the UAL for the upcoming biennium
  • no effect on member benefits

Resources